HARTINGTON - A balanced offense led the Hartington-Newcastle Wildcats past the Wausa Vikings, 49-30, on Friday night.
With 476 total yards, HNS consistently marched down the field throughout the night.
Ethan Koch led the way on the ground with 35 carries for 250 yards and one touchdown. Consistently throughout the night, Koch forced Viking defenders to crowd the box, opening up the passing game for quarterback Shaye Morten.
“I’d say we just stayed disciplined,” said Morten. “We knew that if we stayed disciplined they would start to falter.”
The junior quarterback threw for six touchdowns on the night, going 8-15 for 197 yards through the air. He did throw an interception to start the second half, but Kobe Heitman grabbed an interception himself on the next play to give the ball back to HNS.
Six touchdowns is a special night, especially when there is a connection with a receiver that results in a score on every completion he has. Lincoln McPhillips caught four passes for 134 yards, all for touchdowns.
For someone that lives close to Wausa, McPhillips says it was fun to have a breakout night against some longtime friends.
“I had a little moxie and wanted to beat them so badly because they are my best friends and it is just so much fun to play people you know.”
One of McPhillips god friends is the nucleus of the Wausa offense, Ghatlin Hegge. The Viking senior played running back as a sophomore before switching to quarterback as a junior. This year he has shown he can be as much of a danger through the air as on the ground.
The Wildcats allowed Hegge to throw for two touchdowns and run for one in the first half, but Hegge was largely restricted after halftime, minus a 42-yard touchdown run that gave Wausa a 30-25 lead in the third quarter.
“I don’t really know what it was [in the first half],” said Koch. “A lot of us weren’t doing our jobs. We weren’t doing what we were supposed to do and just talking on the field really got people in the right places [in the second half], and our coaches played a large part in that.”
This was a big win for Hartington-Newcastle, as it did not only bring HNS to 2-2 in the District. The win also keeps the Wildcats hopes alive at hosting a playoff game instead of hitting the road as an underdog.
“It feels monumental,” said McPhillips. “We needed this for a home game. This was our only shot at making a home game probably, or else we drive three hours away and play a tougher team [in the playoffs].”
The senior knows there is still work to be done though, despite a tough opponent coming to town in unbeaten Bloomfield traveling to Hartington on Thursday night. McPhillips said, “we might need a little more next week, it is going to be tough.”
Hartington-Newcastle sits at 5-2 heading into the final game of the regular season. The Wildcats will host undefeated District opponent Bloomfield on Thursday night at 7 p.m.
Wausa 14 8 8 0 — 30
HNS 7 18 16 8 — 49
Team Stats W H
Total Off. 244 473
Passing Yds 72 197
Rushing Yds 172 276
Penalty Yds 8-50 7-70
First Downs 14 21
Hartington-Newcastle - Shaye Morten, 8-15 197 yards 6 TD 1 INT. Wausa - Ghatlin Hegge, 9-21 72 yards 2 TD 1 INT.
Hartington-Newcastle - Ethan Koch, 35-250 1 TD; Shaye Morten, 12-17; Kobe Heitman, 5-8; Jake Peitz, 1-3; Reece Kotalik, 1- -2. Wausa - Ghatlin Hegge, 15-102 2 TD; Drew Munter, 9-47; Tyson Kaiser, 8-23.
Hartington-Newcastle - Lincoln McPhillips, 4-134 4 TD; Turner Korth, 3-59 1 TD; Kobe Heitman, 1-4 1 TD. Wausa - Drew Munter, 4-49; Tyson Kaiser, 3-12 1 TD; Dawson Thorell, 2-11 1 TD.
Hartington-Newcastle - Turner Korth, 19; Morgan Koch, 11; Shaye Morten, 10; Kobe Heitman, 9; Lincoln McPhillips, 4; Dylan Dendinger, 4; Jake Peitz, 4; Ethan Koch, 3; Carson Sudbeck, 1. Wausa - Drew Munter, 16; Tyson Kaiser, 15; Taylor Kumm, 14; Ghatlin Hegge, 8; Carson Barney, 6; Jarrett Andersen, 6; Steel Claussen, 6; Dawson Thorell, 5; Wyatt Hoppe, 2; Sam Rosberg, 1; Brandon Kristensen, 1.